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I Forge Iron

In a old barn

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I found yesterday a Champion forge with blower, although one leg is broken it can be repaired, upon cleaning and looking over I found writing on bottom of forge pan (cast iron) it says and I quote "before using clay forge." I can see no other markings to suggest how thick the clay should be? I assume fire clay would work? There was an anvil and a few tools along with some old iron that I purchased. Ant help on claying a forge pan would be helpful, haven't had a chance to look over anvil yet

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I've talked about my method of claying a forge a number of times but what the hey.

Use about one part sand or crushed fire brick grog per four parts clay, fire clay is good but not necessary. Add only enough water it clumps hard in your hand when squeezed without sticking. If it sticks add more dry material, a little at a time. It should break cleanly without crumbling, if it crumbles it needs a little LITTLE more water, add it a just a bit at a time till it passes the above mentioned tests. This is the same method as seeing if casting sand is right for green sand casting.

Once the clay is right ram it into the forge pan with a wood mallet, B'ball bat end, 2x4, etc. Even a hammer head woeks just don't take a sledge to it okay? Once the clay is hard enough to bounce the mallet use a steel rule, hacksaw blade, piece of thin wood, etc. to "strike" the surface smooth and to shape. Then if you burnish it with a piece of burlap till it's really smooth less hot stuff will stick when a fire's going.

Now the secret, make sure it's dry, Really DRY, hang a light bulb over it if you live in a humid place. Then it's time to cure it ith fire, start a small fire across the whole pan and let it burn down and cool, then make a little larger fire and repeat. Firing the pan is the PERFECT place for a layer of Kingsford briquettes.

That should do the job, fire it up and put it to work. Just be aware this isn't the only way to do this, just packing the pan with dirt, damp is best, will do fine, it's just messy and will get on the work. It works just fine though.

Frosty the Lucky.

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